koramberlynne asked:

Does asshole priest use the southern forces to try to stage a coup D:? Also, those letters :) now I'm imagining that they made it down in the historical record for poor historians to puzzle sigh over :D

:DDD yes, I love that idea, all these historians like wow, dude was ON A MISSION (the love letters definitely make it into the Disney movie version of the story)  ALAS this section is about the coup, instead of the love letters.

Winter strikes hard over the next month.  Storm after storm dumps snow and ice on themand the sun is nothing but a weak yellow spot in the prevailingly gray sky.  Sidney pulls his furs tighter around his shoulder and looks over the walls of the city, where in the army camp they are piling up those who froze to death in the night.  They have not met in battle since the night they attempted to take the city from within, but the invaders have lost people steadily since then.

He hears whispers about Jyusha fighting for them and fights to keep his expression clear when he is thanked for it.

It is snowing again tonight. Sidney watches the heavy flakes swirling down and wonders how many more will freeze before morning—wonders how their army is doing, trapped just as thoroughly on the front, he has not heard from Zhenya in so long—and crawls beneath the furs on the bed with a chill that will not be eased.  He sleeps fitfully.

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illiquidmarkets asked:

I guess what I mean is that I thought he was writing in praise of the Haitian revolutionaries, and it was misapprehended because he wrote it in the form of this Chesterton thing about the French revolution, which made it sound like a criticism. I could have it all wrong, that's a strong possibility.

I don’t recall the specific passage you may have in mind; but in general, Zizek’s apparent praise for the Haitian Revolution is two-faced, couched in a condescending and racist language which twists facts and ultimately justifies colonialism, past and present. This is discussed at length in this Qlipoth blog post:

“[Zizek] insists, as does this odious film, that he is telling “a true story”, but he modifies the historical record to transform the history of white European expropriation, domination, oppression and exploitation of Haiti and Haitians into a treacly tear-jerker fable of its opposite, white European civilisation, salvation and emancipation of Haiti and Haitians. As in the touching tale of rich white benevolence, in Zizek’s pseudo-histories ideology is truly reality on its head, as Zizek switches the places of producer and expropriator of all values as well as of victim and perpetrator of wrongs, erasing imperialist violence and in its place inserting white superiority and benevolence, erasing the biases of Eurocentric and Eurosupremacist history and replacing it with the biased “politically correct” “liberal multiculturalist” cultural-ideological oppression and intimidation of “we white leftists”, and erasing European expropriation and appropriation and replacing it with African and African-Caribbean imitation, gratitude, emulation.

The formula to which Zizek resorts to provide the old colonialist framework and imply what still cannot be stated explicitly is quite simple, familiar from countless stories of white fulfillment and self-improvement attained by saving black people from themselves. (This is something even very flawed white people are qualified to do). Zizek’s version….is as pure as the Blind Side’s. The fears of Oher that keep the Touhys up at night are matched in Zizek’s Speilbergian scenario by white soldiers’ fear of “some tribal war chant” coming from “the black army”:

The ex-slaves of Haiti took the French revolutionary slogans more literally than did the French themselves: they ignored all the implicit qualifications which abounded in Enlightenment ideology (freedom – but only for rational, “mature” subjects, not for the wild immature barbarians who first had to undergo a long process of education in order to deserve freedom and equality…). This led to sublime “communist” moments, like the one that occurred when French soldiers (sent by Napoleon to suppress the rebellion and restore slavery) approached the black army of (self-)liberated slaves. When they heard an initially indistinct murmur coming from the black crowd, the soldiers at first assumed it must be some kind of tribal war chant; but as they came closer, they realized that the Haitians were singing the “Marseillaise,” and they started to wonder out loud whether they were not fighting on the wrong side. Events such as these enact universality as a political category.

There are no grounds in the historical record for this detail. It is expertly camouflaged as some kind of thoughtlessly ejaculated - and thus insignificant - “excess” and “sloppiness”, but it is a precisely calculated to be thus defended against objection (as too small and unpremeditated a point) and to allow for the plausible deniability of the pleasures the fans derive. The fiction is packed with revisionist hints that replace history with throwback colonialist adventure stories for boys. It would be odd for French soldiers to be surprised that French citizens should be singing French songs. But Zizek’s fable manages to cloud the (amply documented) reality to suggest instead a 19th century colonial cartoon, and to excuse his invention by implicitly attributing it to some unnamed soldiers from the metropole modelled on characters one would expect to find in such popular propagandistic stories. This imaginary foil expectation (“some tribal war chant” issuing from “primitive blacks” which he intensifies elsewhere as “half-ape blacks”) is arranged to situate the Marseillaise, and the white soldiers’ epiphany of universalism it triggers, as proof of the efficacy and virtue of the European white supremacist civilising mission. This epiphany is of course defined as white men realising black men can be their equals - or nearly - if put through a sufficiently stern but generous apprenticeship. This packet of hints combine with the previous hint offered by visions of black Haitians, simple as they were, taking white French Ideas too “literally”, to produce history as a minstrel show skit. The 19th century stereotype of childlike, imitative “negroes” is evoked to transform the history of African-Caribbean freedom struggle into one of successful and magnanimous, if comical, colonial tutelage, within a fictionalised context governed by the unquestioned assumption that “equality” and “liberty” were actually concepts invented by white French bourgeois men. Contact with this incomparably creative intellectual force, German spirit, white genius, inspired the enslaved to revolt, Zizek insists - and thus to attempt “premature” liberation and self-rule. Failure was inevitable, Zizek assures us, but the attempt is proof of the worthiness and validity of the civilising mission.

The Haitian Revolution truly deserves the title of repetition of the French Revolution: led by Toussaint ‘Ouverture, it was clearly “ahead of his time”, “premature” and doomed to fail, yet, precisely as such, it was perhaps even more of an event than the French Revolution itself.

It is not, as some defenders of Zizek will insist, that Zizek is evoking some other racist’s ideas about the barbarism and immaturity of the Haitians and the precipitant haste of their slave revolt and later war of independence. Rather it is Zizek himself asserting the accuracy of this Hegel-ish take and bringing forward history as proof. Of course, he explains, Haitians could not effectively seize the liberty and self-govenrment of which the French white bourgeoisie taught them to dream, but how touching and remarkable that they even tried to imitate their masters! (This is again a repeat of the same narrateme…Mrs. Touhy fearing theft and violence but elated to see the folded sheets; the French soldiers fearing “the black army” singing “some tribal war chant” but astonished to hear the Marseillaise; “you white leftist men and women” and Zizek not expecting much from “half-ape blacks” and breathlessly impressed with the astonishing attempt to realise French principles! And of course your joy at the sight evidences your white virtue.)

This all is designed to give Zizek’s readers the same pleasures the white Blind Sideaudience derives from the infantilized Oher and the wondrous efficacy of his simple-minded “literal” interpretation of his white guardian’s directive to protect his team as he would his white family.

The invention of the averted menace of “some tribal war chant” and the ensuing proof of “universality” (black men can also attain the demigodlike condition of “French-ness”) is Zizek’s white-entitled Hollywoodizing of events beyond recognition (and anarchronistically infusing his tale with the image vocabulary of a 19th century race theory he is devoted to reviving) using for pretext the well-known passage from Pamphile de Lacroix’ memoires of the campaign (cited by CLR James and others). His fictionalising works in precisely the same way as The Blind Side and aims for the same effects, titillating a white audience with a brush with savage black danger and its overmastering by white dominance, encouraging and affirming this audience’s white supremacist contempt, while allaying its fear and stroking its vanity.

That “some tribal war chant” which Zizek envisions his white protagonists fearing they hear from, in his words, “half-ape blacks whose grandparents jumped in trees like apes in Africa,” evokes a whole scenario from colonial propaganda’s imagery of savage blackness which continues to be exploited by Hollywood (for example elaborately in Blood Diamond and Amistad) though usually not with as open a relish and bravado as one finds in Zizek and his fans. (Though these scenes have been provided with a similar alibi: Speilberg’s inexcusable opening Amistad sequence was frequently defended, just like Zizek’s endless stream of racist imagery, as some other racist’s vision offered only to be “subverted” and repudiated by the subsequent joyful revelation of the gentle nature and educability of Cinqué and the other Amistad escapees). Like Mrs. Touhy’s elation as her fears are proven unfounded (at least in this instance, and the implication, as with Zizek, is that the relief is exceptional good luck, and a lesson that not all Young Black Men are wilding superpredators or irredeemable), Zizek stages the joyous discovery - the savage “blacks” are civilised after all, they sing French songs!

Unsurprisingly, Zizek further lards his Haitian History fable, freely adapted from “a true story” and ending with a celebration of Haiti’s post-Independence liberty and prosperity that was the gift of French colonisation and Enlightenment, with other Hollywood formula scenes, uplifting, “sublime moments” exhibiting white “authenticity”, heroism and goodness. Inviting his reader/audience to share in the tearful sentimentality of white self-celebration, Zizek parades the true greatness of “white culture” and its emancipatory Enlightenment while all the inconvenient details of history are washed away in the deluge of emotional fluids provoked. His aim is to confirm his audience’s feeling - not to convince but to seduce and massage - that white supremacist empire’s violence (which yes yes must be acknowlegded) is merely accidentally factual, not of the essence, while its justice and benevolence are manifestly destined Truth. So very soon Zizek shows us Toussaint Louverture on a victory tour in Paris surrounded by a wildly cheering audience of Jacobins…

Arguably the most sublime moment of the French Revolution occurred when the delegation from Haiti, led by Toussaint l’Ouverture, visited Paris and were enthusiastically received at the Popular Assembly as equals among equals.

…see it, the steadycam whirl about him, the jubilation all around, with this vindicated and triumphant black hero at the centre.

(It didn’t happen quite that way, you say? Killjoy, hater?)

And Zizek takes pains, as does the Blind Side, to stress the (special) black object of proper and successful white civilising mission is not to be feared. The carefully chosen primitive pupil can be awed and made loyal, trained to put the interests of “the family first”, as Oher lives to “protect the family” and excells as a lineman.

It was the first time that an enslaved population rebelled not as a way of returning to their pre-colonial “roots”, but on behalf of universal principles of freedom and equality.

The message and its powerful appeal to white supremacist sentimentality is the same - protecting the quarterback, protecting the European “enlightement project”. True superiority will earn respecta and subservience. Not only are actual African, African-Caribbean and indigenous American culture and history erased from the revolutionary history of the late 18th-early 19th centuries, their absence is openly applauded as a civilisational advancement: Zizek applauds the Haitian rebels specifically for purportedly discarding African culture, hopelessly backward and parochial, for supposedly indigenous French/European culture labelled “advanced” and “universal”. The “particularism” of the exploited revolting against the exploiters, self-emancipating and unified as a class, is demonised as backward and savage, while history is revised into fictions to offer reassurance that properly mastered by white civilisers (preposterously credited with inventing justice and liberty and democracy), black objects of benevolence (ludicrously portrayed as needing to have their consciousness modernised by a beleaguered slave-owning capitalist bourgeoisie trying unsuccessfully to throw off a decrepit feudal and Absolutist cultural and political superstructure) will be grateful and willingly subordinate. But in order to tame the black savages and teach them their duty to fight for the protection of the “universal Man” that are the white bourgeoisie, the white civilisers have to understand and accept their own superiority, their universality as entitlement to own the universe, their Hegelian historical mission, and, today as before, the truth of their/our history:

The French colonized Haiti, but the French Revolution also provided the ideological foundation for the rebellion which liberated the slaves and established an independent Haiti; the process of decolonization was set in motion when the colonized nations demanded for themselves the same rights that the West took for itself. In short, one should never forget that the West supplied the very standards by which it (and its critics) measures its own criminal past…

…[Once having grasped that great white intellect liberated the black Haitians], we white Leftist men and women are free to leave behind the politically correct process of endless self-torturing guilt.


Note also that Zizek’s apologetic and voluntarist argument-”that the West supplied the very standards by which it (and its critics)  measures its own criminal past”-comes from nearly the opposite premise of Chesterton’s more old fashioned (but in general fundamentally sounder, imo) Thomistic idea that equality is a natural* notion that is latent in humanity everywhere, which is precisely why it is so powerful. Chesterton’s contention is that egalitarianism was a fundamentally ancient idea found everywhere that was then here and there made actual by revolutions; Zizek is saying that equality was a radically new idea that came out of Europe and which no else one  would have understood without Western tutelage. 

A fully coherent and thought out meditation on these issues would go beyond both of these baldly stated viewpoints; but even a cursory glance would see which proposition is more on the side of liberty.

*in the sense of not being a truth of revelation, not in the sense that it wouldn’t require education and socially habituation to be bought out from the blindness of merely biological existence. 


the 100 and history


Emperor Hadrian’s young lover: Antinous. 

Who exactly was this guy, how did he mysteriously die, and why do we find hundreds of portraits of him throughout the Roman Empire?

We don’t actually know a lot about Antinous as a person himself. We do know that he was a Greek from western Asia Minor, but it remains unclear as to whether he was even a slave, or free. Roman emperor Hadrian probably meet Antinous when he toured the region in 123 AD -if this is the case, then their relationship probably lasted for several years. 

With a lack of historical information to record, I now move to the death of Antinous. His death essentially remains a mystery to us, and has become shrouded in imaginative myth, but we do have a few historical leads. During the year 130, Hadrian and his entourage spent a considerable about of time in Egypt, and at one point, traveled up the Nile to Hermpolis. The Egyptians celebrated the traditional festival of the Nile on the 22nd of October, and then, a few days later, they commemorated the death (by drowning in the river), and subsequent rebirth of the Egyptian god Osiris. This is possibly the day that Antinous died.

It is mostly agreed upon that Antinous drowned. However, the nature of this drowning remains ambiguous. Roman historian Cassius Dio (155-235 AD) reports the following on the matter:

“[Antinous] had been a favourite of the emperor and had died in Egypt, either by falling into the Nile, as Hadrian writes, or, as the truth is, by being offered in sacrifice. For Hadrian, as I have stated, was always very curious and employed divinations and incantations of all kinds.” (Book LXIX, translation via uchicago)

Dio here curiously suggests that Hadrian, under some strange superstitious belief, either forced, or persuaded, Antinous to cut his life short, in order to prolong his own. We will probably never know exactly what happened to Antinous, except for the fact that it left Hadrian in all-consuming grief. 

After his death, Hadrian deified Antinous, elevating him to a god, constructed multiple temples and shrines to him, and founded the centre of the new cult, the city of Antinouspolis, next to the Nile, near where he had died. Throughout the Empire at this time, we see huge numbers of portraits of Antinous, and at least 10 marble images of him have been found at Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli. Often in these images Antinous will be given attributes of one of the Olympian deities, in the example at the top of this post, for example, he is shown in a syncretic Dionysus-Osiris pose. This colossal statue is titled the Braschi Antinous, and is thought to be from the villa of Hadrian at Praeneste. This sculpture dates to the years immediately after the death of Antinous. On his head we can see a crown of ivy berries and leaves. Although the diadem on top of his head has been restored to (what appears to be) a pine cone of sorts, it would originally have displayed either a lotus flower or a cobra (uraeus). 

Shown sculpture courtesy of & can be viewed at the Vatican Museums: Museo Pio-Clementino, inv. 256. Photos taken by Jastrow via the Wiki Commons. When writing up this post, James Morwood’s publication Hadrian (Bloomsbury 2013) was of use.

INTP Thought of the Day

…but time isn’t really real.

it’s been brought to my attention that moonpants has disappeared from the internet and taken their iconic remus/sirius fics with them. but never fear, I AM HERE! and i come bearing gifts: 

i’ve uploaded them to dropbox so you can read them online or download the .pdf files if you fancy! you’re fucking welcome!


The Voyager Golden Records are phonograph records which were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft, which were launched in 1977. They contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find them.

At the top left of the plate is a schematic representation of the hyperfine transition of hydrogen, which is the most abundant element in the universe. Below this symbol is a small vertical line to represent the binary digit 1. 
On the right side of the plaque, a man and a woman are shown in front of the spacecraft. Between the brackets that indicate the height of the woman, the binary representation of the number 8 can be seen in units of the wavelength of the hyperfine transition of hydrogen.
The right hand of the man is raised as a sign of good will. Although this gesture may not be understood, it offers a way to show the opposable thumb and how the limbs can be moved.
The radial pattern on the left of the plaque shows 15 lines emanating from the same origin. Fourteen of the lines have corresponding long binary numbers, which stand for the periods of pulsars. Since these periods will change over time, the epoch of the launch can be calculated from these values. The lengths of the lines show the relative distances of the pulsars to the Sun. 
The fifteenth line on the plaque extends to the far right, behind the human figures. This line indicates the Sun’s relative distance to the center of the galaxy.
At the bottom of the plaque is a schematic diagram of the Solar System. A small picture of the spacecraft is shown, and the trajectory shows its way past Jupiter and out of the Solar System. The binary numbers above and below the planets show the relative distance to the Sun.
Behind the figures of the human beings, the silhouette of the Pioneer spacecraft is shown in the same scale so that the size of the human beings can be deduced by measuring the spacecraft.

How Many People Can Say They Have Heard An Authentic Rebel Yell?

To our knowledge this is the only surviving example of the Rebel Yell given by one of the 140,000 Tar Heels who defended the state of North Carolina. We encourage you to listen to this voice from the past, read the see information below to learn of the man behind the voice and how this audio treasure came to be recorded for posterity.

Click on a links below to hear the Rebel Yell from:
Pvt. Thomas N. Alexander of the 37th North Carolina Troops



Rebel Yell - Short Version (11 seconds, 1 MB)
Rebel Yell - Long Version (36 Seconds, 3 MB)
Full Interview - (3 minutes 15 seconds, 6 MB)
Recorded by: WBT Radio of Charlotte, North Carolina

This Thomas N. Alexander of Co. I was reported in newspapers to have joined in Charlotte in Feb. 1862 though the North Carolina Soldiers book shows him joining in 1864 at Liberty Mills, near Orange, Va. The audio files accompanying this page were recorded by the general manager of WBT radio at a Sons of Confederate Veterans meeting in 1935 when Alexander was 90 years old. 

Alexander then says whenever the Yankees heard the Rebel Yell, “they would fly,” meaning run away. The interviewer then asks all of the veterans in attendance to give the yell. They give several, controlled monosyllabic calls. Apparently, at some point later in the meeting, perhaps in a more private room as the sound quality seems to improve, the interviewer asks Alexander to give his own version of the yell.

As Zacariah recalled, ‘the entire city was in a state of uproar because [the students] were spending their time studying magic books instead of applying themselves to law.’
—  Grimoires: A History of Magic Books, by Owen Davies

In recent weeks, emaciated young sea lions have been washing up on California beaches (though a few healthy ones have also shown up, including one who got to hang ten with a local surfer). Roughly 1,800 stranded pups have been found on California beaches through the first two-and-a-half months of 2015. That’s well above the 100 or so that usually turn up through the end of March and “at least as high as anything in the historical record,” according to Nate Mantua, a scientist at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif.

Emaciated sea lions are washing up on the beaches of California — the latest victims of rising ocean temperatures

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